Dodgers notes: First-round pick Jeren Kendall ready to go to work
LOS ANGELES – Jeren Kendall’s parents were proud for the same reason most parents of college students are proud.
“I got home and my parents told me I finally got a job,” Kendall joked about agreeing to sign with the Dodgers on Friday. “It’s a pretty good job.”
Indeed, it is – and it came with a healthy first check. The Dodgers’ first-round draft pick received a $2.9 million signing bonus, slightly over the allotted bonus for the 23rd pick in the draft.
The Vanderbilt outfielder is currently in Arizona going through a strength and conditioning program. Kendall expects to finish the summer playing for Great Lakes in the short-season Class-A Midwest League.
“It’s the next step to getting to where you want to be,” the 21-year-old Kendall said. “Getting to play college ball, high school ball everyone dreams of getting to the big leagues. That’s the next step in the process, getting into the system.”
Kendall was prized for his elite speed and defensive ability in center field. He stole 67 bases in three seasons at Vanderbilt while being thrown out just 16 times. He led the Commodores in hits, runs scored and home runs as a junior this past season while hitting .307. He had a .386 on-base percentage and .939 OPS during his college career.
The one knock on Kendall’s game in college was a high strikeout rate, once every 3 1/2 at-bats. The strikeout rate is particularly troublesome for a player with Kendall’s speed – and he knows it.
“Putting the ball in play, there’s always a chance for me to get on base,” Kendall said. “I feel I’m more of a gap-to-gap guy, get on base. One thing I do need to work on is just putting the ball in play more consistently to make the defense play a little more.
“I’ve heard […]